Vice President, Head of Transit & Micromobility Policy at Lyft
Caroline Samponaro, Vice President, Head of Transit & Micromobility Policy at Lyft, talks about Citi Bike, the largest bike-share system outside of Asia, and key factors for its success.
The interview was filmed during Autonomy Paris 2022.
A few words from...
Hi, I’m Caroline Samponaro, Vice President, Head of Transit & Micromobility Policy at Lyft.
What is Lyft?
Lyft is based in the United States in San Francisco, California.
We were founded in 2012 to help cities rebuild streets and public places around people, not cars, and to provide great transportation options.
We are a technology company. We provide a mobile application that makes it easy and fun to get out of a car and try different ways of getting around.
What are some achievements of Lyft?
We pioneered ride-sharing in the United States. In 2018, we became the largest bike-share provider in North America.
We operate the largest bike-share systems in the United States, including Citi Bike, our flagship program in New York City. Citi Bike is now the largest bike-share program outside of Asia.
What is Lyft's Citi Bike program?
Citi Bike is our flagship program. It’s an incredible success, and it took years to get to this point.
We invested $100 million to help the city of New York expand Citi bike. Critical to the success of Citi Bike is the station network, it’s very dense.
Last year, we saw 28 million rides on Citi Bike. We placed stations outside of major transportation hubs, near destinations that are hard to reach with transit, so that we really provide a network effect for our customers.
How did Lyft respond to the pandemic?
COVID has been incredibly challenging. One silver lining, and something that has kept our team inspired every day, is the ways in which bike share program in particular rose to the occasion and provided an important resiliency for public transit.
As people were maybe timid or scared to get on public transportation, we saw more and more people try bike share for the first time.
During the pandemic, hospitals became our most popular station locations, and we worked with the City of New York to move stations and add new stations in front of hospitals, to make sure that critical workers could get to and from their workplace.
Bike share, it can be nimble, it can be quick, it can be responsive. And that was something that really stood out during the pandemic.
How does Lyft tackle mobility challenges?
Bike share and micromobility are really a simple solution to a complex set of problems. The key to a successful micromobility program and to making sure that bike share and scooter share can tackle these big challenges around climate change, reducing vehicle dependency.
It’s important that we think about the station is a critical tool. It takes physical space away from the automobile and gives it back to people riding on two wheels.
What is it like to be a woman in mobility?
It’s true that as a woman in the field, I’m sometimes the only woman at the table. But as a leader in the field, I work hard to make sure that I’m empowering other women and lifting up the voices of women leaders.
And there are many amazing women leaders in the micromobility space and in the transportation field. And I think that as we see more and more people get on two wheels, change the gender dynamic on the road. We’re seeing the same thing in the industry and in the field, and that’s a great thing.
What is your favorite mode on transport?
I ride my bicycle every day.
I now have seven bicycles. The most exciting one in the last couple of years is the Urban Arrow, which is my electric cargo bike that I use to get my two five-year-olds around to and from school. And they have so much fun on the bike. It really can replace a car legitimately. It’s been just a great addition to the family.